Onward Oregon Blog is Retiring


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March 14th, 2008at 09:30:15

Hello authors and subscribers to the Onward Oregon Blog,

After two and a half years online, our Blog is going away. We’ll really, it’s morphing. Today we are quietly launching Onward Oregon Dialog. All previous blog posts will still be online, but the Blog is no longer linked from the Onward Oregon site and there will be no more blog posts.

We invite you to take an active role in Onward Oregon Dialog. We are especially seeking moderators/hosts for the various sections of the Dialog (see below). I hope there is a section that will appeal to you. If you are interested in hosting and moderating, please email Lenny Dee. Even if you are not interested in being a moderator, you can always sign-up to post your thoughts there.

Below I’ve listed the sections on Onward Oregon Dialog. Better yet, click here to check it out yourself. (You’ll also find it in the top navigation of the main Onward Oregon site.

Thanks for your efforts and participation over the years.

Rick Ray

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Onward Oregon Dialog

Education
How can Oregon best fund our schools and educate our children for life in the 21st century?

Land Use Planning & Conservation
How do we preserve the Oregon we love and, at the same time, adequately plan, design, and remake our communities?

Health Care & Public Health
Can Oregon provide a vision for fixing our country’s antiquated health care system while improving the health of our own citizens?

Economic & Environmental Sustainability
How do we build a vibrant economy in Oregon while protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the majesty of our landscape?

Oregon’s Response to Global Warming
Communities all over the world are coming up with creative ideas. What can we in Oregon learn from others and how can we contribute to effective solutions?

The Fighter With the Hard Left Hook


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March 13th, 2008at 15:12:49

Steve Novick is a political activist and former environmental lawyer, and a 2008 Democratic candidate for the Senate seat now held by Republican Gordon Smith.

From Wikipedia:

Novick was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1963. His parents, a waitress and a union organizer, moved his family to Cottage Grove, Oregon, in 1973.
Novick was born with significant physical disabilities which include a missing left hand and missing fibula bones in his legs. As a result he uses a hook prosthesis and stands approximately 4’9″ tall. His unusual physicality has prompted him to use the slogan “The Fighter with the Hard Left Hook.” His levity about his physical stature has drawn both positive and negative reviews from the press.
In 1977, after low funding caused Novick’s junior high school to close, he enrolled at the University of Oregon. After graduating at age 18, he attended Harvard Law School, earning a law degree at age 21.
Read the rest of this entry »

Money in Politics, Continued


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March 13th, 2008at 14:17:44

At noon on Friday, March 14th, Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson and Gary Blackmer, auditor of the City of Portland, will speak to the City Club of Eugene at the Eugene Athletic Club on 10th and Willamette on Voter-Owned Elections. Commissioner Sorenson is the principal author of The Oregon Voter Owned Elections Act, proposed for adoption by the 2009 Legislature.

The one hour presentation will be recorded and broadcast by KLCC Radio, 89.7, the Eugene Public Radio outlet, on Monday, March 17, from 6:30 pm to 7:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, the Commissioner and his committee will appear at the Davis Restaurant, Broadway and Olive in Eugene, in a public meeting to address community concerns with the proposed legislation. All are invited. Read the rest of this entry »

Energy Watch, March, 2008


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March 10th, 2008at 11:20:07

Bits and Pieces on EB last month:
A. “Most analysts continue to maintain that the 19 percent increase in oil prices during the past month is not supported by fundamentals and is largely driven by speculators fleeing the sagging equities markets….

B. . . . . crude is now selling for $40 a barrel or 95 cents a gallon more than it was at this time last year. “

C. “China’s shortage of thermal coal could lead to a serious power shortage this year”

D. “Utilities are increasingly turning to solar thermal power, a comparatively low-tech alternative to photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight directly into electricity. This month, Spanish solar-plant developer Abengoa Solar and Arizona Public Service announced a 280 megawatt solar thermal project in Arizona. By contrast, the world’s largest installations of photovoltaics generate only 20 megawatts of power.” Read the rest of this entry »

Money and Politics, Part IV


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March 5th, 2008at 08:13:03

As of this writing there are 143 Initiatives (on 3/5/08 there are 155) proposed for the November ballot. That means they are registered with the Secretary of State and are authorized to collect the signatures of 82,769 voters registered in Oregon. Only if they obtain the required number of signatures will they make it to the ballot.
Almost a third of those Initiatives carry the name of Bill Sizemore. They cover a range of subjects. I’ll summarize by saying that if you like George W. Bush and his administration, you’ll love Bill Sizemore. If you want more information, wander over to Orestar and get it from there.
Karl Rove was the campaign advisor to Dubya and much of the Republican Party for the past couple of decades. He knew how to rig elections. At the same time, Grover Norquist provided the present ideological identity of the party. Norquist is chief of the American Taxpayers Association, which holds a meeting every Wednesday to which representatives of the President, Vice President, other invited politicos and major neo-conservative media outlets plan their weekly political strategy
Read the rest of this entry »

Coming to an Intersection Near You


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February 27th, 2008at 20:37:12

Salem will soon have red light cameras installed, Portland has had them for some time. A sense of outrage about the practice is building momentum, to the dismay of bloated bureaucracies that have come to depend on Oregon’s drivers as a cash cow. It might come as a surprise to learn that the timing of traffic lights has no clear standard, in particular, the time that the amber light stays on. Here’s some background information on the problem.

In Corvallis, for example, an amber light in a downtown intersection is only about three seconds long, barely enough time to react and stop the vehicle. In Salem, an amber light at the same kind of intersection might be 4-5 seconds long. The concern here is that the time can be manipulated to increase the number of citations, without any regard for the safety of thousands of law-abiding citizens who pass through the intersection every day. Traffic analysts have concluded that insufficient amber light times are the cause for running red lights in many cases. Decreasing amber light times is gambling with your safety – and on top of it, you pay for it with unnecessary citations and more traffic accidents. It’s easy to browbeat the average driver into submission; after all, you’re driving around scott-free, listening to music, and maybe you’ve never thought about the fact that you have rights as a driver. You have the reasonable expectation that safety considerations are foremost in roadway design, and you should be able to pass through an intersection without being pressured or blinded by strobe lights. If Thomas Jefferson were to gaze upon the downtrodden, silent masses scurrying to the frenetic beat of photo-strobes, he would say “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all drivers should have the basic rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. Amen.
Read the rest of this entry »

The Bush junta’s and Gordon Smith’s idea of supporting the troops


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February 27th, 2008at 18:08:27

A distant friend and former co-worker who knows I’m in Veterans for Peace sent this and asked me if I could explain it to her. I sure can’t, but it doesn’t surprise me a bit.

Okay. So there’s this big article in the paper and I get a notice from the school . . . The father of one of Carlos’ classmates was in the army for some time, got out, moved here, joined the guard, went to Iraq, got out of the guard, re-upped, got sent back, was seven days from finishing his tour and got hit by an IED. Not a good scene. Now he’s in a spinal cord facility in Chicago due to return home in a few months. Paraplegic. Saturday the guard post is sponsoring a fund raiser (food, silent auction, whatever) to try to raise $30K to cover the cost of converting his house to handicap accessible.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? Not only do they send a pretty old guy to Iraq TWICE, but they don’t spend enough coin to cover decent body and vehicle armor, now the guy’s a CRIPPLE and he’s gotta have a BAKE SALE so he can move back home??? The VA won’t COVER this???

This is just a great country . . .

Money and Politics, Part III


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February 27th, 2008at 07:50:17

When I was but a stripling I thought about money. Probably because I’d read a book by Dostoevsky that talked about how to become wealthy. No sweat if you had wealthy parents; otherwise it took a lot of single-minded, dedicated work. Closed out a lot of attractive options. Seemed a severe limitation on one’s life. I decided upon more modest economic goals, adequate shelter, decently warm, dry and healthy, I do like my dinner. An adequate amount of clothing. I’ve thankfully always been indifferent about cars – getting from point A to point B has always been my only criteria and shank’s mare was frequently good enough and I don’t mind busses at all. Still the way it is, most of the time. A reasonably modest income leaves me free to pursue that which I valued more than lots of money.
Back to wealth. Once a fellow has his first billion, what’s the point of further pursuit? You watch the guys who have it, it’s always more, more, more. Why on earth? I’ve wanted to express that question and come up with a suitable answer most of my life. But ah-ha! It was there all the time. Probably even read it as a stripling without realizing its significance. I found it recently while reading “The Wealth of Nations,” not by eighteenth century philosopher Adam Smith (a good guy) but by P.J. O’Rourke (not so good). Cover said this economist was remarkably humourous. A practitioner of the dismal science as a comedian? Well, I was told that Rush Limbaugh was funny too but I didn’t agree. I don’t think P.J. O’Rourke is either, for exactly the same reason. Wise-ass putdowns of people better than themselves don’t strike me as humor. Read the rest of this entry »

The Power of Inspiration


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February 22nd, 2008at 21:26:02

By the end of the writer’s strike, authors had triumphed against media conglomerates and raised awareness of intellectual property. The goal was securing rights for digital media, but the withering vacuum of content also signified the power wielded by the pen.

From thefreelibrary.com:

For Thomas Jefferson, the pen truly was mightier than the sword. From his pen flowed some of the world’s most famous and influential words: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

It was Jefferson’s brilliant, fact-crammed mind and flair for drama that gave the Declaration its poetic punch. He expressed the ideals in a way that people could take to heart–even be willing to die for.
Read the rest of this entry »

Money in Politics, Part Two


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February 20th, 2008at 09:28:57

You are offered an opportunity to comment at the bottom of every piece appearing in this blog. Matters being addressed here tend to be of a controversial nature. We’re not hearing much from the readership. For instance, do you want public financing of political campaigns, yes or no? If yes, how much do you think it would be worth? Please talk to us about that or any other matter. It’s important to us that you do.
Congressman Murphy of Connecticut says that access to a Congressman’s ear seldom results in a quid pro quo – you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. I’ll give you this prize if you’ll vote for my legislation. Congressman Murphy says that makes it way too obvious, and the elected official who gets suckered into that arrangement isn’t going to last. But still, big bucks have clout. How so? Read the rest of this entry »